24 June, 2008

Phonetic Confusions Abound !!!

Phonic confusion was something that began long ago with Mr.E. At that point of time, we were just beginning to learn and master the phonetics of each alphabet and the confusion too was restricted just to the pronunciation of each syllable. Questions like "How to differentiate between 'C' and 'K' in a word because they are phonetically the same ?" were being put forth.

Now that Mr.E is quite adept at putting the phonetic equivalent of alphabets together and forming a whole word and since he’s developed and is fine honing his reading skills, the phonic confusion is just about reaching nerve wracking levels.

Mr.Exasperation has quite apparently devised a new method – which serves rather well, his single minded aim of driving Mommy nuts. He is being relentless and this newfound desire to go into each alphabet of every word phonetically is leading to absolutely exponential levels of self-created confusion.

He has started taking words apart phonetically and then throws questions left, right and centre at a extremely hapless mommy, who, at the current rate, is heading towards various levels of lunacy the way a comet approaches a planet it is destined to crash into. Surely and steadily !!!

What makes the whole situation even more perplexing and difficult is the fact that all these questions make a lot of sense. Logically speaking – his “phonic confusions” are very valid questions. What makes the situation so very sticky is the fact that there are no “politically correct” answers to these questions.

How does one give explanations to questions such as these ....

Why is an elephant called ELE'f'ANT and not ELE'p'ANT ? Why do we need to use the “ffff” sound while saying elephant and not the “ppp” sound ? The word Elephant does have a “P” in it right ?

We say the sound of the word “C” as “kkk”. It is called a “Curly kkk”. Then why is CITY pronounced with a “ssss” sound ? Why not with a “kkk” sound ? Why should we not call a “City” as “Kity”?.

When we were learning to spell numbers, mommy had explained to Mr.E that the word Eighteen just has one “T” in it and not two “T’s”. “The words EIGH and EEN share the alphabet T” was what Mommy had told Mr.E. And now the same logic is being used by Mr.E for other words too. Today morning he wanted to know “Why is SHOPPING spelt SHOP + PING. Why is it not SHOP+ING. Why cannot SHO and ING share the alphabet P ?

Why should Chair be spoken with a “ch” sound. Because Chameleon is spoken with a “k” sound ?

How can “new” and “knew” sound the same ? Knew should be spoken as “kenew”

The alphabet W – why is it spoken as “doubleu” when there is no D in it ? It should be spoken as “Wublew” because it is W.

“Why do “right” and “write” sound the same when the word ‘right” has a G in it ? (He does not, as yet, know that there is another word called “rite” too – which is pronounced the same as right and write. Thank the Lord for small mercies !!)

When “right” and “kite” sound the same – why is not kite spelt “kight” ?

Why is Vulture spoken as “Vulchur” ? Why not Vulture with the “t” sound ?

These are the kinds of questions that are popping up inside that head of his, of late. They are very very valid questions – it’s just that mommy still has not figured out how to give him logical explanations for these questions. How does one explain these “inconsistencies” in words – in the phonetic sense ? To be very honest, these questions leave me rather stumped.

I can only imagine how his imagination is going to spiral when punctuations come into play too. As of now, the only punctuations he is familiar with are “Fullstop” and “Apostrophe”. Imagine the havoc that will be wreaked when punctuations like commas, colons and semi-colons come into the picture. I don’t even want to go there right now.

And to make the most out of these question/answer sessions – a full month of summer holidays are fast approaching.

And today afternoon, Mommy was walking around trying to pronounce a “W” as “wublew” and trying out that permutation and combination with various words starting with “W”. No wonder then, that Aparna looked rather alarmed. She probably thought something was seriously askew.

Like Joan Kerr once said

“The real menace in dealing with a five-year-old is that in no time at all, you begin to sound like a five-year-old.”

post signature

13 voice(s) said so:

Aditi's Album said...

I can relate to these confusions.It seems I would drive my mom crazy by asking her why I should say put as poot and cut as cutt or but as butt - the difference in pronunciation. I guess as we all have accepted, you've got to explain to Mr.E that strange is the English language and we'll have to live with it.
Hope your mom is better and recovering well after the surgery.

dipali said...

W is supposed to be the double of a u
two u's joined to make a w!
(That's what we were taught. Also that English is pretty weird and there will always be exceptions to every single damn rule!)
My sympathies. As it is Abhay is extremely bright and will insist on logical answers. All the best or your sanity!

Gauri said...

Aditi's Album : Mr.E is not going to buy something like "English is a strange language so that's how it is". That's just going to lead to a whole new barrage of questions !!

Dipali : I dare not tell him that W is called that because it is 2Us put together. Knowing him, he would say - when we write capital W it looks like two V's put together and not two U's !!!

Mama - Mia said...

you means kids have an option to NOT accept "because i say so" and keep demanding explaination?? sigh!!

maybe you can show him Chupke Chupke with Dharmendra's similar situation and Amitabhs english is a phunny language bit!! :D

when you find the answers, leme know will ya!!

school and college aadat of copying notes is not gone!! hehe!!

Mr. E is just too smart!!! :)



Random Thoughts said...


Preethi said...

Brought to mind the Chupke Chupke movie!! go goo kyon nahin hotha? pnemonia panemonia kyon nahin bolte!!

Gauri said...

Random Thoughts : Story of our lives, is it not ? :D Woh pakatha hain aur hum pakthe hain :D !!!

Preethi : I know !! :)

Gauri said...

Mama Mia : Woh zamaana gaya dear when one could say "because I say so" and get away with it :D.

Mystic Margarita said...

English phonetics can be tricky! Like the others said, brings to mind the phonetic-related sces in Chupke Chupke! And intelligent kids will want to know why something is pronounced so - normal for them - for the parents, it means more grey hair!

Krishnapriyacr said...

oopss....Such valid questions that you begin to wonder if there's seriously something wrong with the English language! Just had something to ask you, how does it feel to be at home...cause I am really planning to give in my papers now (with my daughter and the twins, there is hardly anytime at all to work) ..hmmm..i've been sitting on this decision the past one month and now its time to make up my mind and let go...but its just too damn difficult!!! I know I am ranting out here, but there is something wise and friendly about you that I felt I had to vent it out!!!!

Suki said...

Tell him he'll have to grow way bigger in order to understand the answers, otherwise the answers will wrap themselves like a bedsheet around him and swallow him up :P

La vida Loca said...

oohh boy! relaize now english is a crazy language

nishita said...

Hi gauri,
realated to your prev. post.....
I totally understand your situation.You won't believe, but my mom was in the exact same situation. By same, I mean, the same sequence of events. She was by herself walking and she fell on the pavement and then within 24hrs went thro' the same surgery with pins and plates.

But she didn't let me know b'coz there was no point, me being so far. I casually called her up and she laughed and said "oh i'm in the hosp". I immediately flew down with this knee walker. (google to see the image). Spent 10 days post-op.

The patient can't bear any weight for 2-3 mths, so this is the best way to be mobile. I left for the US after 10days and i was satisfied to see her mobile with this walker.(she lives all by herself) This happened in feb and today with her amazing will-power, she walkes 3 miles everyday.

So don't worry !! A positive spirit and will-power is the key to the recovery from this surgery.